Mark Cuban is known as a hands-on owner who has an obsessive attention to detail. Everything about his organizations, especially the Mavericks, is supposed to be hands-on from top to bottom. So when allegations came out from a Sports Illustrated report that the Mavericks had serious issues with domestic violence and sexual harassment, many wondered how this could happen under Cuban's watch.
From the day the SI report surfaced until now, Cuban's story has slightly changed every time he's interviewed. Here's a timeline of Cuban's statements:
'I was not involved in the day-to-day [of the business side] at all'
Cuban's first comments about the allegations came in the initial report itself that surfaced Tuesday night. His comments seem to insinuate that he was not aware about the misconduct in his organization -- that the people he relied on let him down and didn't inform him of what was happening.
Pressed on how it is that a proudly hyperattentive owner could be so oblivious, Cuban said, "I deferred to the CEO, who at the time was Terdema, and to HR. ... I was involved in basketball operations, but other than getting the financials and reports, I was not involved in the day to day [of the business side] at all. That's why I just deferred. I let people do their jobs. And if there were anything like this at all I was supposed to be made aware, obviously I was not."
"I want to deal with this issue," Cuban told SI. "I mean, this is, obviously there's a problem in the Mavericks organization and we've got to fix it. That's it. And we're going to take every step. It's not something we tolerate. I don't want it. It's not something that's acceptable. I'm embarrassed, to be honest with you, that it happened under my ownership, and it needs to be fixed. Period. End of story."
'I was aware' of alleged assault
In a separate interview with Sports Illustrated following their investigation that same night, Cuban maintained that he was unaware of everything taking place under him. This included the multiple domestic violence charges brought against Mavs.com employee Earl K. Sneed. He later emailed Sports Illustrated saying that he was actually made aware of the allegations in 2014.
"I didn't know until I just looked into it again. Everything was handled by the Mavericks at that point, the CEO and HR. I had no reason to doubt their handling of anything because none of this was communicated to me. ... I can't even begin to tell you how bad it is to me. ... What happened was he was arrested, he was convicted [Ed. Sneed was not convicted but plead to a misdemeanor assault charge] and then he was put through counseling. He was required to go through counseling, and I don't know the term of the counseling. All of this, I'm hearing after the fact just recently having checked into it with Buddy Pittman [then the Mavs' head of HR]. He was required to go to counseling. He was required to have an escort. That's when I checked into this as a result. I mean, this was just in the past weeks. That's what I was told.
[Having reviewed his records, Cuban called on SI on Tuesday to clarify that an email indicated that, in 2014, he had been made aware of Sneed's alleged assault of a female co-worker. "I was aware of it. I also suggested that we put him through domestic violence training class and then create a zero tolerance policy that included a variety of things. ... I don't want this to be incorrect. I don't want you to think I misled you. We took this very seriously."]
'I made the decision' to keep disgraced team writer employed
A day after the initial investigative report, Cuban sat down for another interview, this time with ESPN, where he tried to further clarify his knowledge of everything that took place. While he didn't comment on the sexual harassment allegations against former team CEO Terdema Ussery, Cuban did speak extensively about his role in Sneed's continued employment despite multiple domestic violence charges. In the extensive sit-down, Cuban's stance changed from not being aware of what happened to putting the blame of Sneed's employment solely on himself.
"So I made the decision, it was my decision and again, in hindsight, I would probably do it differently. I made the decision that we would make him go to domestic abuse counseling as a requirement to continued employment, that he was not allowed to be alone without a chaperone in the presence of any other women in the organization or any other women in a business setting at all, and he was not allowed to date anybody [who works for the Mavericks]. From that point on -- and the investigators are going to see if we missed anything else -- he appeared to abide by all those rules, as far as I knew.
"So that was my decision. What I missed -- and it was truly a f---up on my part because I was not there [at the Mavericks' office] -- I looked at everything anecdotally. My real f---up was I didn't recognize the impact it would have on all the other employees. I looked at this as a one-off situation where, OK, if I don't do anything, this person could go out there and do damage on another women another time. Or do I say, can we get him counseling to try to prevent that from happening again? I thought I was doing the right thing at the time.
Since the allegations came out, Krutoy Law has been hired to provide a separate investigation into the organization. This investigation will shed light on just how much Cuban, and everyone else inside the franchise, knew about the misconduct taking place.